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Silver Cloud Facts & Figures

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One of Silver Cloud's tenders is waiting to bring us back to the ship after a visit to the picturesque town of Hvar. We show our keycards, hop on board and all too soon the engines roar and the tender is making its way to our beautiful ship which is anchored in the bay. I notice a pile of white boxes and ask a crew member what is in them. Smilingly, he shows us the content of the boxes: fresh fish, caught this morning off Hvar and bought at the local fish market...

Early morning reveals itself in all its splendor. The sun rises over a mirror-like sea, setting the bare Croatian hills in a golden shimmer. Silver Cloud carefully approaches the island of Hvar and drops anchor off Hvar Town. A ferry docks and leaves again, greeting us with its whistle. Sailboats lie anchored in sheltered coves on starboard side, and Hvar Town looks picture-perfect. We have breakfast with fresh blueberry pancakes and freshly squeezed orange juice at a table for two in the Terrace Café, and by 10.30 am we are ready to jump ship. We proceed to deck 3 at our leisure, take a bottle of spring water, have our keycard swiped, and step aboard one of the two ultra-comfortable tenders. No lines, no waiting.

Hvar is a pleasant surprise. The 40-mile long island is famous for its lavender and herbs, planted back in the 16th century by the Ventians as an alternative to the expensive Far Eastern spice trade. The Venetians ruled the island until 1797, and their influence is still very visible in Hvar Town. We browse through art galleries, see some spectacular and affordable works of art that are just too big to carry home on the plane, and order a Diet Coke at a café on Trg svetog Stjepana (try to pronounce that!) - the main town square.

The beautiful facades of the Venetians buildings, the palm trees, the Croatians sitting on terraces sipping coffee and reading newspapers. Hvar is so different than most other ports of call - definitely low key, relaxed and very, very pretty! There is not too much to see and do here though, so we are back on board in time for a late lunch at the Terrace Café. We share a table outside with a wonderful couple from the Channel Island of Jersey, and we get along great from the first moment. We end up talking away the hours, sipping white wine and enjoying some incredible treats from the huge Mediterranean Lunch Buffet which is set up inside. Later, we move to the Pool Deck, where we catch some rays, take a plunge in the pool and meet some more people.

Tonight is the first of three formal nights, and TW and I descend to the Venetian Showlounge dressed to the nines for the Captain's Cocktail Party. We shake hands with Captain Michele Macarone Palmieri, born and raised in Sorrento, Italy and have another glass of Moët & Chandon before reporting to the Maitre d' at The Restaurant. We are invited to have dinner with Rossano Giunti, the ship's personal Hotel Director from Florence. A waiter brings us to a large table where we meet our table mates for the evening. The ice is broken right away, and it is not long before we sit chatting back and forth in between endless supplies of great food, wine, and a drop of Lemoncello (at the special request of Rossano).  After yet another impressive dinner we head back to the Venetian Showlounge for the first production show. While the anchor is weighed and Silver Clouds sets course for Dubrovnik, we very much enjoy the performance of "Millennium" by the talented Walter Painter Company. After the show we get to meet two of the performers in The Bar. In fact, we meet many more guests and staff members, like Terpsi, the delightful Australian manageress of the Bvlgari shop on board. We take a spin on the dance floor with our newfound friends to the sound of some contemporary hits and enjoy our formal evening to the fullest. Back in the suite, I find my bed covered in booklets, Godiva chocolates and a beautifully printed Passenger List.

 
   

Photos and text: © 2002-2011 Bart de Boer - www.ShipParade.com

First published on October 6, 2002

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